CHESTER, Vt. – Two Rivers Supervisory Union Act 46 Study Committee consultant Steve Dale talked about the impact of Act 46 on local education during a public hearing recently.
He said the act includes greater equity across the state, a strengthening and retaining of small schools as part of larger districts, and is an attempt to temper the rising cost curve of education per child and create flexibility in the administration of the education system.
The Study Committee is charged with not only advising the towns of Chester, Mt. Holly, Andover, Plymouth, Cavendish, Baltimore and Ludlow on the best feasible plan that will give a quality education to all students pre-k through 12, but must also explain the outcome of the plan to make rational sense to taxpayers.
There are tax incentives if the schools unify on their own accord prior to fiscal year 2017, and if they create a plan for meeting the guidelines set out by the State Agency of Education.
A proposed plan drafted by the Two Rivers administrative committee, with suggestions from teachers and students, is: two pre-kindergarten through 5th grade schools located in Ludlow and Mt. Holly, two kindergarten through 5th grade schools located in Cavendish and Chester-Andover, and one middle school comprising grades 6 to 8 at Black River Middle School.
Green Mountain Union High School was the proposed location of the one regional high school, grades 9 to12.
Committee members said that this is an attractive plan, but they requested a report on the cost and efficiency of the plan before further decisions are made.
Geography and transportation are huge challenges that the committee members say they have recognized, and are brainstorming on a workable solution.
Act 46 was passed by the state legislature for creating larger, unified school districts, and the Two Rivers Supervisory Union Study Committee needs creative ideas and input from the communities, members said.
Whether a taxpayer has a child in school or not, Act 46 is going to affect them, according to the committee.
This committee has a big burden and needs public feedback, members said. Residents are advised to “Sit up, pay attention, come to a public hearing and speak your ideas.”
The committee will continue to hold public hearings prior to all forthcoming meetings.
The next meeting is on Nov. 1 at the Ludlow Elementary School, with a public hearing at 6 p.m., followed by the meeting at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are open to all.
LPCTV (Ludlow-Plymouth-Cavendish TV) public access will be broadcasting meetings on the Internet, so if anyone is unable get to the meeting, they can watch it live from their homes.
For more information, visit: su.trsu.org .